Google is now using site speed as a consideration when ranking sites in its search results, giving webmasters yet more food for thought.
In a blog post yesterday, Google fellow Amit Singhal and principal engineer Matt Cutts revealed the news, arguing that speeding up the response times of your site is important for both site owners and users.
“Faster sites create happy users and we've seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there,”they wrote.
“But faster sites don't just improve user experience; recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed — that's why we've decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.”
Singhal and Cutts recommended several tools webmasters can use to evaluate the speed of their sites. These include open source Firefox/Firebug add-on Page Speed, Yahoo tool YSlow, and a Google function in its Webmaster Tools section.
However, the web giant did concede that site speed will not be taken into consideration as much as, say, relevance, when evaluating the search rankings of a particular site.
“Currently, fewer than 1 per cent of search queries are affected by the site speed signal in our implementation and the signal for site speed only applies for visitors searching in English on Google.com at this point,”noted the blog post.
“We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing. If you haven't seen much change to your site rankings, then this site speed change possibly did not impact your site.”